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Published on April 22nd, 2014 | by James Ayre

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Kenya GDP Could Grow $45 Billion With Switch To Green Economy

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April 22nd, 2014 by  

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Kenya’s economy could be boosted by as much as $45 billion by the year 2030 with a switch to a ‘green’ economy, according to a new joint study from the UN Environment Programme and the Government of Kenya.

The switch would also (of course) help to reduce pollution, improve air quality, improve energy/food security, and reduce waste, within the populous African nation.

The Green Economy Assessment Report — as it’s known — found that even with an investment of just 2% GDP on previously proposed green measures, the country’s (normalized) GDP could expand more than 12% in only 20 years. This economic expansion would improve food security within the country, help clean up the environment, and ensure a greater return on the utilization of the country’s natural resources — the report argues.

Under such a path, Kenya’s carbon emissions would also fall significantly — by as much as 9% by 2030. Also, agricultural yield would be expected to increase by around 15% — this would in turn spur further growth in exports, driving the country’s GDP up more.

Part of this impressive growth would be down to the country’s switch from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy generation — current estimates are that, by the year 2030, solar, wind and other renewable energy sources could account for 20% of all the electricity generated in Kenya.

Part of this switch to renewable energy would be spurred by government incentives — government incentives to invest in resource-efficient processes would also be part of the package.

On a related note, there’s currently over 750 MW worth of FiT-approved solar PV projects in the pipeline in Kenya. Not a bad start if all those projects get developed. :)

Image: Kenya hand flag via Shutterstock

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Ronald Brakels

    Late last year Keny announced they would suspend licencing of new wind and solar farms for four years to “reduce costs”. Hopefully they’ve gotten over this costly mistake as wind and solar would surely be their cheapest options once fuel costs are taken into account.

    • JamesWimberley

      It’s not clear this actually happened: http://www.pv-tech.org/news/kenya_goverment_not_aware_of_solar_license_suspension

      So far it looks like something the minister told Bloomberg in an interview, Changes like this need formal legal instruments. But it is worrying the minister has been thinking this way.

      • Ronald Brakels

        Glad to hear they may not be going ahead this this lousy idea. It’s almost as if they are trying to make Australians not feel so bad about their Budgie Smuggler in Chief.

  • JamesWimberley

    20% of renewable generation by 2020 and a reduction in carbon emissions of 9%? These are supposed to be ambitious green targets? Fortunately Kenya actually does have sound policies supporting renewables, and since it has a triad of ample wind, solar, and geothermal resources, all much cheaper than imported oil, there’s no reason to think it won’t go much further and faster.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Yes, new wind and solar beats the socks off the cost of new gas and coal, particularly since coal would have to be imported and their gas reserves are both unclear and unexploited. Oil is far too valuable to burn for electricity and the low cost of renewables makes gas too expensive to burn much of the time also. Grid electricity, where it is available, is extremely expensive in Kenya, so this makes point of use PV a clear winner for use both on and off grid.

  • Will E

    This mathematics goes for any country.
    or State, community or family.
    The beauty is, you can make money on small family scale,
    or big Nation wide scale.
    Buy Solar, install Wind farms and make Money from day one.

  • newpapyrus

    Most sub-Saharan African countries need to move towards a carbon neutral bio-methanol economy.

    Methanol can be produced from urban (garbage and sewage) and rural (crop and forest waste) biowaste .

    A country like Kenya could use some of its hydroelectric power to produce hydrogen. Hydrogen could potentially increase the production of bio-methanol by up to five times since about 80% of the carbon in biofuel synthesis is wasted.

    Methanol can be used in modified gas turbines for electric power production. Methanol can also be used in portable fuel cells for back up electricity production in homes with solar power rooftops.

    Methanol can easily be converted into gasoline for automobiles or into dimethyl ether for trucks or other vehicles that use diesel fuel.

    Marcel

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